American Production and Trading Corp., one of Maryland's largest private companies, named Louis B. Thalheimer president and chief executive yesterday and named David Hirschhorn chairman of the board of directors.
The two men, both of whom are members of the family thafounded Atapco, fill the dual role left by the death last month of Dr. Morton K. Blaustein, 64.
Dr. Blaustein, chairman of Atapco since 1970, died after choking on a piece of meat at a hotel restaurant in Richmond, Va., where he had gone for a meeting of the Signet Banking Corp. board.
The new chairman said the company's direction won't change as a result of the new administration. "Our objectives are to continue the programs in place under Dr. Blaustein's leadership," said Mr. Hirschhorn, 72. "We've been part of the management. It isn't as if we're strangers."
Atapco was founded as American Oil Co. by Louis Blaustein, Mr. Thalheimer's great-grandfather, and Louis Blaustein's son, Jacob. Dr. Blaustein was the son of Jacob Blaustein and the brother of Mr. Hirschhorn's wife, Mr. Hirschhorn said.
American Trading and Production is involved in communications and owns oil tankers, oil and gas properties, manufacturing companies and real estate, including the Blaustein and W. R. Grace buildings in downtown Baltimore. It also holds major interests in Amoco Oil Co. and Crown Central Petroleum.
Mr. Thalheimer, 47, received a law degree from New York University. After practicing corporate law with the Baltimore firm Cable, McDaniel, Bowie & Bond, he joined Atapco in 1981. He is one of two family members of his generation working for the company daily, Mr. Hirschhorn said.
Mr. Hirschhorn said Mr. Thalheimer spent much of the early part of his Atapco career working for the company's marine transportation business. The new chief executive was named after his great-grandfather, Mr. Hirschhorn said.
Before Dr. Blaustein's death, Mr. Thalheimer was president and chief operating officer of Atapco. He was listed by Forbes magazine as one of the 400 wealthiest people in the nation last year, as were Dr. Blaustein and 91-year old Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg, Mr. Thalheimer's great-aunt.
Forbes estimated Mr. Thalheimer's wealth at $350 million.
Mr. Hirschhorn has been with the company for 32 years and has been president, vice chairman and interim chief executive.
Also yesterday, Dr. Blaustein's wife, Mary Jane Blaustein, was elected a director of the company, filling her husband's seat.